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Helcim Review

Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks
Domain Editor

Helcim is the best credit card processing company for small businesses because it's one of the most transparent processing services in the payments industry, with competitive interchange-plus pricing and a single monthly fee that gives you access to higher-end features that other processors charge more for. Its in-person processing rates are lower than average, and it's one of the few payment processing companies that has a rate guarantee. It has quality customer service and no lengthy contract or termination fees, as it provides its services on a month-to-month basis.

Helcim

Helcim

The Verdict

Helcim, our choice for the best credit card processing company for small businesses, provides interchange-plus pricing to its merchants and posts its complete rates and fees online. It's also one of the few companies with a rate-lock guarantee.

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Helcim

Pricing 6.25/10
Contract 7.5/10
PCI Compliance Fee 9.0/10
Early Termination Fee 10/10
Quick Deposit 7.25/10
Editor's Score 8.0/10


Pricing and Terms

Every credit card processor pays the same interchange rates and card brand fees. The only negotiable portion of processing rates is the margin, or markup, that the processor adds on top of these base costs.

Industry experts favor interchange-plus pricing because you can clearly see how much you're paying the processor, whereas tiered pricing lumps costs and margins together. In addition to offering this pricing model, the best processors post their rates online and have no hidden fees, so you know what to expect when you get your bill.

Here's a breakdown of Helcim's pricing and terms.

Interchange-Plus Rates

Helcim is exceptionally transparent with its pricing. It doesn't just post its markup; it posts all of its rates and fees online. It also gives you examples of how much you'll pay when you accept different types of cards, adding its margin to interchange rates and card brand fees. Here are the interchange-plus fees you'll pay when you use Helcim to accept credit and debit card payments:

  • In-person credit card processing, with cards accepted using a card reader: 0.3% + $0.08 above interchange
  • Online credit card processing, including e-commerce sales, online invoice payments and transactions keyed into the virtual terminal: 0.5% + $0.25 above interchange 
  • International transactions, both in-person and online: 0.5% + $0.25 above interchange

Helcim offers volume-based discounts, starting with businesses that process more than $25,000 per month, with deeper discounts available for higher-volume businesses. As your business grows and you process at a higher tier over three months, volume discounts are automatically applied to your account. You can see its full discount schedule on the pricing page of its website.

Bottom LineBottom Line: Helcim is upfront about how much it charges for credit card transactions. Every penny counts and if you can accurately calculate how much it will impact sales, the better off your business will be.

Credit Card Processing Fees

Helcim's transparent pricing extends to its fees, which it also posts in full online, a rarity among credit card processors. What's nice about Helcim is that you don't find any monthly recurring account fees.

Here's a list of fees you won't pay with Helcim:

  • No application or setup fee
  • No monthly minimum processing requirement
  • No payment gateway setup fee
  • No monthly payment gateway fee
  • No annual fee
  • No PCI compliance or noncompliance fees
  • No early termination or cancellation fees
  • No bank deposit fees
  • No customer service fees
With Helcim, you can accept payments in-person or online.

Incidental Fees

There are just two instances when you may be charged other fees:

  • Chargeback fee: $15 per occurrence, but it's reimbursed if you win the dispute.
  • Currency conversion for Helcim's multicurrency processing service: 1% above the daily market rate.

Did you know?Did you know? Helcim doesn't add on a bunch of extra fees like some other processors do. Outside of chargeback and currency conversion fees, there aren't any extra charges.

Processing Equipment Costs

Helcim's card reader costs $199, with the stand costing $39. The card reader has EMV and NFC technology, so you can accept chip cards, contactless cards, and mobile card payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay. It also has a built-in swiper and PIN pad so you can accept magnetic stripe cards and PIN debit cards.

If you want to add peripherals like a cash drawer, receipt printer and barcode scanner to your system to create a POS station, you can purchase them from third-party vendors.

Terms

When reviewing credit card processors, we looked for companies that don't tie you to long-term contracts. You pay monthly for Helcim's services and can cancel your account at any time without incurring an early termination or cancellation fee of any kind.

Even though there are no lengthy contractual obligations, you still want to read the application, terms of service, and program guide – as you would with any account provider – to ensure you understand what you're agreeing to, are aware of all possible fees, and know what the cancellation procedure entails.

Helcim doesn't work with high-risk businesses, so small business owners should read the company's acceptable use policy to make sure that your business type and the products or services you offer are not on the prohibited list.

There are no added fees with Helcim.

Features

Here are some of the features that are included with your account for no additional fees.

POS App

This app makes it easy to check out customers and accept payments. It tracks inventory, stores customer information, records transaction history, displays sales trends and generates reports. You can use the web-based version of the app with your computer or use the mobile version with Apple and Android phones and tablets. It supports an unlimited number of user accounts and has access controls that allow you to limit employee access. You can add a cash drawer, card reader and barcode scanner to create a POS station. 

Hosted Online Store and Payment Pages

Your account comes with a hosted online store that has a shopping cart, discount codes, shipping integrations, a content management system (CMS), a theme editor, SEO settings and an SSL certificate. If you already have a website, you can accept online transactions by adding Helcim's hosted payment pages to it or by using its API.

Online Food Ordering

Restaurants can use Helcim's quick-order online store to create a menu, take orders and accept payments. If you already have a website, you can embed an ordering menu and payment form on your website.

QR Code Payments

You can print and display your unique QR codes, which customers can then scan to pay. 

Virtual Terminal

With this tool, you can use your computer to key in credit card transactions. You can also issue refunds, void transactions, preauthorize credit cards and accept payments made through ACH transfers.

TipTip: The more payment methods your processor supports, the better. That ensures you will close the sale whether a customer is paying with a credit card or QR code.

Customer Relationship Management and Customer Portal

You can add contact information and notes to customer profiles, view purchase histories and store credit card details in Helcim's secure vault. You can also add your branding to Helcim's self-service customer portals, which is where your customers can update their contact and credit card information, view their order histories, and pay invoices online.

Online Invoicing

This tool allows you to create and send an unlimited number of invoices, send automatic payment reminders, and accept online invoice payments. You can also text customers to request payment. Thinking about getting a more robust invoicing or accounting system for your small business? Check out our best picks and reviews here.

Recurring Payments

You can manage subscriptions and recurring payments with this feature. It allows you to customize your subscription plans with trial periods, one-time fees, and metered and prorated billing.

Integrations

Helcim integrates with several shopping carts, e-commerce platforms and accounting software. Options include QuickBooks, ECWID, Magento and WooCommerce. It also has an API available if you prefer to build a custom integration for your website or app.

Helcim offers contactless payment options.

Additional Considerations

Here are more details about Helcim to keep in mind as you choose a processing service for your business.

Application Process

Helcim has streamlined its application process and says it only takes minutes to apply. After you fill out Helcim's online application, the company emails you requesting documentation, such as your business license, a utility bill or your driver's license, and a voided check. On average, it takes one or two business days for the underwriters to approve your application. Once you're approved, the company ships your card reader, which may take another three or four business days to arrive.

Security

Helcim is a PCI Level 1 Service Provider, complying with the Payment Card Industry's highest standards. It secures payment data using encryption and tokenization technologies, and two-factor authentication is available to keep your account from being compromised. The company provides Helcim Fraud Defender as part of your account, which scores transactions for fraud risk and allows you to set a risk threshold – any transactions that score below this threshold are then automatically declined.

Did you know?Did you know? Every merchant that accepts credit card payments have to meet PCI compliance requirements. It's designed to protect customers' personal information. There can be hefty penalties if merchants don't maintain compliance.

Customer Support

The quality of a processor's customer service is an important consideration. Helcim has in-house customer service agents. The Helcim representative we spoke with was friendly and gave us precise information about rates, fees, and service terms. Phone support is available, and you can either call the company or schedule a call back. Helcim's website is also a valuable customer resource, with a searchable knowledgebase, how-to guides and a blog.

Limitations

Helcim is the overall best credit card processor for small businesses because of its transparency, lower-than-average retail rates, single monthly fee that includes many premium processing features, quality customer service, month-to-month terms and lack of a termination fee. However, there are some limitations that you should consider before deciding if this is the right credit card processing company for your business.

For starters, if you're looking for the lowest possible rates and don't need any of the extras Helcim includes, you can find that elsewhere, especially if you're primarily an online business. But, if you need a virtual terminal, subscription billing and some of the other nicer features, you should ask about those costs when you're shopping around as other processors may charge extra for them.

Finally, like many processors, Helcim doesn't work with high-risk businesses, so you'll want to check its acceptable use policy to make sure your type of business and the products and services you offer are supported.

Image Credit: radifanil / Getty Images
Helcim

Helcim

The Verdict

Helcim, our choice for the best credit card processing company for small businesses, provides interchange-plus pricing to its merchants and posts its complete rates and fees online. It's also one of the few companies with a rate-lock guarantee.

Visit Site
Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks
business.com Staff
Lori Fairbanks is a writer and editor for business.com and Business News Daily who has written about financial services for small businesses for more than seven years. Lori has spent hundreds of hours researching, analyzing and choosing the best options for critical financial-related small business services, including credit card processing services, point-of-sale (POS) systems and employee retirement plans. Lori's publishing experience is extensive, having worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies.